Move from Coventry sparks winning run for Islington Boxing Club newcomer
- Credit: Archant
Furthering his education was the main reason behind Aaron Nicely’s move to north London, but it seems to have done wonders for his boxing as well.
The teenager fought twice for Coventry Boys Club, in his home city – and lost on both occasions – but has experienced a rapid transformation in fortunes since he donned an Islington BC vest.
Nicely has won all four of his fights for Islington by unanimous decision, including an impressive performance in the England Boxing Contender series on his debut at York Hall.
Now the 18-year-old middleweight, who is in his first year of a three-year computer science course at London Metropolitan University in Holloway, aims to continue that upward trend with a view towards championship entry later in the year.
“The two fights I had as a youth boxer were close and could have gone either way, but it wasn’t that easy to find opponents,” Nicely told the Gazette.
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“Coventry isn’t a big club, they weren’t prepared to travel much and at that age you have to fight people the same weight. So when I told my coach I was moving to north London for university, I asked if he knew any good gyms in the area.
“I moved down in September, found the gym on the same day, paid my membership and started training! That was a surprise as I didn’t think they’d let me train straight away.
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“To get my first win [in November, against Gator ABC’s Charlie Green] was a big relief as I’d trained so hard, but I wasn’t really nervous before the fight.
“The other highlight so far was boxing at York Hall – it was the biggest ring I’d ever fought in and that suits my style. I like to move about a bit more and I’m a good counter-puncher.
“My plan for 2016 is to keep training hard, have a decent number of fights, avoid getting any losses and hopefully go in for the development championships in October.”
Nicely has something of a multi-layered sporting background – his uncle used to play professional basketball and his grandfather was a marathon runner.
The youngster played rugby for his school, as well as competing as a sprinter for Coventry Godiva AC, primarily over 200m, before boxing took over his sporting focus.
That has only increased since he joined Islington, with the volume and variety of sparring at the Hazellville Road gym enabling him to develop his boxing skills more thoroughly.
“I was always involved in sport, since I was about five and my dad and uncle used to take me down to the athletics track,” said Nicely. “Sprinters need to have powerful legs and that carries over into boxing as well.
“Although I like athletics, when I started boxing it seemed better. At Coventry I didn’t get much sparring because there’d usually only be maybe 10 people there.
“Islington’s very busy compared to that – it’s encouraging when there are 50 or more people in the gym and it’s great to spar with different boxers because you need a balance.
“I’ve done a lot of sparring with Sherif Musah, which is good because he’s more experienced. He’s always coming forward, he’s got good head movement and keeps you on your feet as you don’t want to get hit by a heavyweight!
“My last two fights were at 76 or 77kg so I might be a big middleweight – but whatever the weight I’m really enjoying boxing for Islington.”